IT Sligo students reach finals for Microsoft Imagine Cup in New York

11 Jul 2011

The group of students from IT Sligo are one of six teams within their category who have made it into the finals for the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2011 which will be held in New York tomorrow.

More than 350,000 students from 183 countries registered for the global student technology competition to take on social issues, such as disaster recovery, access to clean water and rural education, using technology. Categories include software design, embedded development and game design.

The event is in its ninth year and gives finalists the chance to attend training sessions, meet peers from around the globe and participate in voluntary and cultural activities while in New York.

Some 124 student teams secured their places at the 8-13 July Worldwide Finals event in New York, competing for a US$215,000 prize. Now, 21 finalists teams remain and the Irish team will be competing directly against five others to take the prize for the software design category.

Team HERMES from IT Sligo is an interdisciplinary venture, merging ideas from the School of Engineering and the School of Business. It initially targeted at-risk drivers to tackle road safety in light of the World Health Organisation’s prediction that road accidents will be the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

The team researched statistics on road safety and discovered the data was lacking real-time analysis for any given accident. As a result, the group developed an in-car road system that communicates data from the device in the car to a mobile phone. This data will then be uploaded to the cloud, acting as an early warning system on erratic driving behaviour.

“We’re delighted to have made it to the final stage of the Microsoft Imagine Cup. We’re looking forward to representing IT Sligo, our fellow students and our country in the final round of the competition and are busy preparing for our final presentation. Our fingers are crossed for tomorrow,” said IT Sligo student James McNamara, from team HERMES.

The winners will be announced at the Imagine Cup World Festival and Awards Ceremony on 13 July.